As the worldwide coronavirus outbreak has led to the postponement of entertainment industry conferences and festivals in Europe, organizers of American events are moving full-steam ahead with their planned gatherings in the coming weeks. Among them is CinemaCon, which kicks off March 30 at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.
The National Association of Theatre Owners, which organizes the conference, on Thursday doubled down on its commitment to hold the event with a memo outlining the steps it’s taking to ensure the event is a successful and healthy one.
“The safety and productivity of our attendees remains our highest priority. We continue to closely monitor the coronavirus situation and maintain daily communication with the (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), Caesars Palace, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, American Society of Association Executives, and others to ensure safety practices are updated and implemented as appropriate for our guests,” the memo reads. “As of today, the CDC maintains the risk for the majority of the public remains low.”
Travel restrictions have led participants from China, Japan, Korea, and Italy to cancel their attendance.
Studio partners, including Focus Features, Lionsgate, Neon, Paramount, Universal, Disney, and Warner Bros. are all committed to their planned presentations or screenings, according to the conference.
Here are the steps NATO and Caesars Palace are taking in preparation for the conference, which typically attracts over 5,000 people annually.
More hand sanitizer: The CDC says that common hygiene practices are the best way to prevent yourself from getting infected. That includes washing your hands with soap and water, or, if that’s not available, using hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol.
Sanitizer will be available throughout Caesars and each attendee will get an individual bottle.
Ramped-up cleaning regimens: Any place where large numbers of people gather — like casinos — are a hotbed of gems. Health officials recommend regularly cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces.
Caesars has an hourly sanitation protocol, is increasing staff in restrooms, and will conduct wellness checks and training for staff before each shift.
Thinner crowds, more napkins: Organizers are working with the casino to reduce crowding, particularly around food. Lunches planned for Tuesday and Wednesday are being moved to areas with more space for seating. Servers will distribute food at buffets and beverages at drink stations to keep public contact with utensils to a minimum. Extra napkins will also be available and wherever possible, individually wrapped foods will replace open containers of snacks.
More places to throw stuff out: Don’t throw that napkin on the floor! Caesars will make extra trash cans available throughout the property.
Friendly reminders: Some need reminders of how to follow hygiene practices. Expect signage throughout the property with health guidance.
Help at hand: Anyone who feels ill can head to on-site medical personnel, including EMTs, ready to assist those in need.